There’s been a fair amount of buzz about this Bloomberg article, which concludes that the ACA has caused “barely a ripple in corporate America” in terms of its effect on profits. Their findings were based on a review of conference-call transcripts and interviews, and it makes sense when you consider that most employers – and virtually all “major U.S. employers” – already provided comprehensive health coverage to employees that met the new requirements for value and affordability. This is an important point, and one that sometimes gets lost in all the debate. It should also be acknowledged that employer health benefit professionals have been working hard to slow benefit cost growth and keep this item off the agenda of investor calls. Still, the law has affected different employers to different degrees. Among smaller employers – those with fewer than 200 employees – and those with large part-time populations, the ACA has had a bigger impact. (And even among larger employers, what has helped to keep this item off the agenda of investor calls is the slowing cost trend – the product a lot of hard work by health benefit professionals.) The article also downplays the added administrative effort needed to comply, which for many employers has had to be the focus of health benefits strategy for the past few years. Finally, there’s no mention of the upcoming excise tax on high-cost plans, which will potentially affect employers of every size. Employers have already been taking decisive action to avoid hitting the tax threshold but many acknowledge that it may not be possible. Those that wind up paying tax on already costly coverage may feel they’ve been hit by more than a ripple.
Go to full article: bloomberg.com